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YouTube/Bewitched
YouTube/Bewitched

‘Bewitched’s Paul Lynde Hid His Sexuality, Was ‘Infamously Cruel’ & Died Alone in Bed in 1982

Stephen Thompson
Oct 29, 2021
01:40 P.M.
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Paul Lynde was a great author known for writing "Bewitched." His friend Cathy Rudolph once shared a little of what he was like and some intimate details of Lynde's life, including why he was scared of coming out.

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Before his demise, American Comedian, Voice Artist, and Actor Paul Lynde was a familiar face on television and appeared on dozens of the most famous sitcoms. He was a gifted man with unmatched quick wit and a force like no other.

Born on June 13, 1926, in Mount Vernon, Ohio, the star began his career in entertainment following his graduation from Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois.

American actor and comedian Paul Lynde in a movie scene. | Photo: YouTube/Bewitched

American actor and comedian Paul Lynde in a movie scene. | Photo: YouTube/Bewitched

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PAUL LYNDE'S STAY IN HOLLYWOOD

The actor graduated with a degree in drama and moved to New York, where he worked on his comedy. Soon, he began performing stand-up comedy routines in the city. Even though his talent as a comedian was awe-inspiring, his heart was also set in acting.

Lynde scored a role in the Broadway revue "New Faces of 1952," but he decided to go on a hiatus and spent a few years appearing in radio and variety shows despite a great debut.

Some of the actor's movie credits include "Under the Yum-Yum Tree," "Beach Blanket," "Bingo," and "The Glass Bottom Float," all of which were lighthearted. He was also part of the popular TV shows including "I Dream of Jeanie," "The Munsters," and "Bewitched."

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Paul Lynde appearing in the ABC TV series 'The New Temperatures Rising Show' on October 2, 1973. | Photo: Getty Images

Paul Lynde appearing in the ABC TV series 'The New Temperatures Rising Show' on October 2, 1973. | Photo: Getty Images

PAUL LYNDE WAS GAY

Lynde was a picture-perfect image of a comedic genius on camera, but much of his personal life was shrouded in mystery. He had a dark childhood that scarred him and left the comedian with many insecurities. One of such insecurities was his sexuality.

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He was gay at a time when it was frowned upon and widely unaccepted. So, Lynde hid his sexuality from the world for the longest time possible. He feared that if his fans knew he was gay, it would end his career.

Although the actor feared coming out, his sexuality was the secret behind Lynde's success. He landed gay roles, and being gay in real life made it even easier for the icon to give an outstanding performance.

Paul Lynde appearing in sketch on the ABC TV special 'The Paul Lynde Comedy Hour' on April 23, 1977. | Photo: Getty Images

Paul Lynde appearing in sketch on the ABC TV special 'The Paul Lynde Comedy Hour' on April 23, 1977. | Photo: Getty Images

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PAUL LYNDE ON "BEWITCHED" AND "HOLLYWOOD SQUARES"

One of his gay roles was in the 1960s classic ABC sitcom, "Bewitched." In the series, Lynde acted as Uncle Arthur — a gay man and uncle of the witch Samantha. The show aired from 1962 to 1972 with 254 episodes, and Lynde made appearances in eleven of them.

"Bewitched'' also earned 26 Emmy Awards nominations and three Emmy Awards. Not long after, the comedian landed another gay role which was arguably the highlight of his career.

Lynde had tried to save his friend when he lost his grip by desperately grabbing his arm but could not hold on.

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Paul Lynde appearing in the Walt Disney Television TV series 'The Paul Lynde Show' circa 1972. | Photo: Getty Images

Paul Lynde appearing in the Walt Disney Television TV series 'The Paul Lynde Show' circa 1972. | Photo: Getty Images

Lynde made his debut on the game show "Hollywood Squares," a platform through which he tickled his fans' funnybones for the next fifteen years.

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Even though the series made the voice artist more famous, he decided to exit the show for a while, as he felt it was becoming an impediment to his career.

However, he later returned to the show with a new contract and increased pay. After his time on "Hollywood Squares," Lynde got several offers to appear in top movies. Some included playing gay roles, which the actor quickly turned down out of fear.

Paul Lynde appearing in the Walt Disney Television TV series 'The Paul Lynde Show' circa 1972. | Photo: Getty Images

Paul Lynde appearing in the Walt Disney Television TV series 'The Paul Lynde Show' circa 1972. | Photo: Getty Images

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INSIDE PAUL LYNDE'S TUMULTUOUS LIFE

Despite being one of the most successful actors in Hollywood at the time, Lynde still felt isolated and ultimately unhappy. His issues frustrated the comedian, and as a result, pushed people away.

Lynde's social life was a wreck, as well as his love life. It was believed that throughout his lifetime, the actor never enjoyed a long relationship. Lynde was rumored to have jumped from one relationship to another while yearning for genuine and long-lasting love.

Paul Lynde appearing in the Walt Disney Television TV series 'The New Temperatures Rising Show.' | Photo: Getty Images

Paul Lynde appearing in the Walt Disney Television TV series 'The New Temperatures Rising Show.' | Photo: Getty Images

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BATTLE WITH ADDICTION

Apart from struggling emotionally and socially, Lynde also battled with alcohol abuse. He was a heavy drinker, and whenever drunk, the comedian was "infamously cruel."

In a biography of Lynde, "Centre Square," written by Steve Wilson and Joe Florenski, Musician Jack Holmes made a shocking revelation about the actor's words whenever he was intoxicated, saying every word of Lynde's mouth was venomous.

Paul Lynde appearing in the ABC TV series 'The New Temperatures Rising Show' on August 9, 1974. | Photo: Getty Images

Paul Lynde appearing in the ABC TV series 'The New Temperatures Rising Show' on August 9, 1974. | Photo: Getty Images

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Lynde's cruelty not only made many dislike him, but it also landed the actor in trouble. Once, his behavior led to public intoxication arrests and an incident where he busted into a drunken racist tirade at a Chicago Burger King.

Sooner than expected, Lynde's self-destructive drinking habit began to impact his career negatively. He succeeded in pushing away potential employers, and by the time he decided to abstain from alcohol, the damage to his career was already too severe.

Paul Lynde appearing in the ABC TV series 'The New Temperatures Rising Show' on January 8, 1974. | Photo: Getty Images

Paul Lynde appearing in the ABC TV series 'The New Temperatures Rising Show' on January 8, 1974. | Photo: Getty Images

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AN IRREPARABLE LOSS

Despite his flaws, Lynde managed to have a few friends, one of which was Actor J. B. Davidson. Sadly, Davidson passed away when he was only 26 years old.

The young actor died after he fell while hanging off the balcony of Lynde's room at Sir Francis Drake Hotel in San Francisco. Lynde considered his death the most damaging hit to his reputation, as he was present when the incident occurred.

Lynde had tried to save his friend when he lost his grip by desperately grabbing his arm but could not hold on. After Davidson's death, the actor was cleared of wrongdoing by two policemen who witnessed the accident. However, many still believed Lynde had a hand in his friend's death.

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Paul Lynde appearing in the Walt Disney Television TV series 'The New Temperatures Rising Show' circa 1973. | Photo: Getty Images

Paul Lynde appearing in the Walt Disney Television TV series 'The New Temperatures Rising Show' circa 1973. | Photo: Getty Images

REMEMBERING PAUL LYNDE

Sadly, Lynde passed away alone in his bed in 1982 after suffering a heart attack. He was aged 55. The actor will always be remembered for his impact in the movie industry and his ability to put a smile on people's faces with his comedic gifts.

A movie about the "Bewitched" actor titled "Man In The Box" is in the works to keep his legacy alive.

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